A week after the ISE conference I attended, I have to say, I’m still thinking about all of the amazing people I met. The expo itself was also fantastic. The many different booths provided excellent opportunities to inquire about new products, compare and contrast various brands, and even demo some of the rods. I myself tested a Tenkara rod for the first time. If you haven’t done so before, I highly recommend trying one. It is a completely different way to fly fish.
One of the favorite people I met at the expo was a woman named Dorothy Zinky. She was tying a spectacular mayfly impression in the show’s tying booth. At 83, she was tying on a size 16 hook with apparent ease. I was immediately drawn-in and well on my way to developing a bit of hero worship for this brilliant lady. I spent over an hour at her station; she was full of jokes, laughter, a bit of mischief and possessed a unique perspective as a woman fly fisher who had been participating in the sport for over 45 years. She regaled me with witty tales from her years on the water. As fly fishing tends to be a male dominated sport, it was refreshing to hear stories from a woman who’d been fishing for so many years.
A story about hooking herself in the face, and then having to coach one of the less squeamish men to remove it for her, was ironic and comical. She is a skilled story teller; the way her eyes light up with good-natured mischief during her narration makes it a memorable experience. My personal favorite was a story I could relate to: when she was fishing with a group of men from atop milk crates (to maximize casting distance), she toppled off her box and into the river, with copious amounts of water pouring into her waders. Her take on it: since she did such a good job of getting completely drenched, her shirt was all the same water-logged color, and because no one had seen her fall in, she just kept on fishing with water up to her knees inside her waders. Being accident prone, especially when you add water, moss and challenging terrain; I have had my fair share of slips and falls. I have DEFINETLY been there before: yard-saling in front of a bunch of guys who are good enough friends to laugh freely at your expense (I’ve never been lucky enough to avoid notice when I fall). I guess the most important thing is to be able to laugh it off and just keep fishing, because after all that’s what your’e out there to do.